Mary, Queen Of France
MARY, QUEEN OF FRANCE (1496-1533), was the daughter of Henry VII. of England and Elizabeth of York. At first it was intended to marry her to Charles of Austria, the future emperor Charles V., and by the treaty of Calais (Dec. 21, 1507) it was agreed that the marriage should take place when Charles should have attained the age of fourteen, the contract being secured by bonds taken from various princes and cities in the Low Countries. On the 17th of December 1508 the Sieur de Bergues, who had come over as Charles's representative at the head of a magnificent embassy, married the princess by proxy. The contract, originally made by Henry VII., was renewed on the 17th of October 1513 by Henry VIII. at a meeting with Margaret of Savoy at Lille, the wedding being fixed for the following year. But the emperor Maximilian I., to whom Louis XII. had proposed his daughter Renee as wife for Charles, with Brittany for dowry, postponed the match with the English princess in a way that left no doubt of his intention to withdraw from the contract altogether. He was forestalled by the diplomacy of Wolsey, at whose instance peace was signed with France on the 7th of August 1514, and on the same date a treaty was concluded for the marriage of Mary Tudor with Louis XII., who had recently lost his wife Anne of Brittany. The marriage was celebrated at Abbeville on the gth of October. The bridegroom was a broken man of fifty-two; the bride a beautiful, well-educated and charming girl of eighteen, whose heart was already engaged to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, her future husband. The political marriage was, however, no long one. Mary was crowned queen of France on the sth of November 1514; on the 1st of January following King Louis died. Mary had only been induced to consent to the marriage with Louis by the promise that, on his death, she should be allowed to marry the man of her choice. But there was danger that the agreement would not be kept. In France the dukes of Lorraine and Savoy were mentioned as possible suitors, and meanwhile the new king, Francis I., was making advances to her, and only desisted when she confessed to him her previous attachment to Suffolk. The duke himself was at the head of the embassy which came from England to congratulate the new king, and to the detriment of his political mission he used the opportunity to win the hand of the queen. Francis good-naturedly promised to use his influence in his favour; Henry VIII. himself was not averse to the match, but Mary feared the opposition of the lords of the council, and, in spite of Suffolk's promise to the king not to take any steps in the matter until after his return, she persuaded him to marry her secretly before he left Paris. On their return to England in April, Suffolk was for a while in serious danger from the king's indignation, but was ultimately pardoned through Wolsey's intercession, on payment of a heavy fine and the surrender of all the queen's jewels and plate. The marriage was publicly solemnized at Greenwich on the 13th of May 1515. Suffolk had been already twice married, and his first wife was still alive. He thought it necessary later on (1528) to obtain a bull from Pope Clement VII. declaring his marriage with his first wife invalid and his union with Mary therefore canonical. Mary's life after this was comparatively uneventful. She lived mainly in the retirement of the country, but shared from time to time in the festivities of the court, and was present at the Field of the Cloth of gold. She died on the 24th of June 1533. By the duke of Suffolk she had three children: Henry, born on the nth of March 1516, created earl of Lincoln (1525), who died young; Frances, born on the 16th of July 1517, the wife of Henry Grey, marquess of Northampton, and mother of Lady Jane Grey (q.v.)', and Eleanor.
See Lettres de Louis XII. et du cardinal Georges d'Amboise (Brussels, 1712) ; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII. (Cal. State Pap.) ; M. A. E. Green, Lives of the Princesses of England (vol. v., 1849- 1855) ; Life by James Gairdner in Diet. Nat. Biog.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)